Ben & Kevin Day
was established in August of 2021 with a Proclamation by Madam Mayor Tishaura Jones, from The City of St. Louis and County Executive Sam Page submitted his proclamation this year, also solidified by Senator Brian Williams with a Resolution from the MO Senate and by House Rep Rasheen Aldridge and House Rep Kevin Windham giving Ben McLemore and Kevin McLemore August 4th as a day of celebration for family, community, and the fight against gun violence and violence in St.Louis. Ben took his “BMack Stop The Violence Weekend” which he has delivered for the past 10 years, and merged with the first year celebration of “Ben and Kevin Day,” and giving back in a bigger way.
August 4th, “Ben & Kevin Day” was nothing short of amazing family and community-filled love and bonding. The celebration was opened with a prayer and rendition of the Negro National Anthem delivered by recording artist Mitchel Ford Jr.
Ben had the vision to bring the city of Wellston together with surrounding cities under the tents of festival-driven moments with food trucks, cotton candy, snow cones, and bounce houses to add a carnival-style ambiance, and he did just that! This day brought joy to all the children which arrived anxiously, running down “Ben McLemore III Place” to partake in Ben & Kevin Day in front of the home that he was raised in.
The festival opened up with the neighborhood children enjoying fun times jumping in the bounce houses, enjoying free food from the food trucks and ice cream truck, and yes I said “free food” -Ben made sure to buy out the food trucks for the community. He stated,
“I want everyone to enjoy themselves and eat as much as possible because it’s a day of celebration- it’s Ben & Kevin Day!”Ben McLemore, NBA Standout
You can see the excitement on Ben’s face upon his arrival to see all that he envisioned happening in real-time, and seeing the joy on the faces of the children with ice cream dripping from their cones, colorful snow cones in the hands of so many, and this moment warmed his heart and made his 10 years of giving-back through his “BMack Stop The Violence Weekend community initiative, and immediately like a kid Ben jumped into the festivities greeting his community, family, and friends while eating ice cream and getting a place in line to join in with the festival games.
The second phase of the festival included a presentation to the community of Wellston, Ben, Kevin, and his mom. The list of presenters included a slate of powerful men and women who set atop the stage. Kicking off the presentation hour with Mistress and Masters of Ceremony, The New Lou 96.3 Jess Live and Streetz 105.1 DSmoove, and they navigated the crowd through an inspiring presentation and upliftment of the community. Ben & Kevin day kicked off with words from the founder and owner of Kazi Society, Jami Dolby, following in black girl magic style, Dr. Mati The City of St. Louis Health Director, CEO of Annie Malone Keisha Lee, St. Louis County Chief Transformational Officer Stephanie Lewis, Associate Medical Director of Family Care Health Center Dr. Kanika Cunningham, and Felice Skye Hutchinson president of the Wellston Coalition.
Rounding out the list of presenters and speakers included a powerful lineup of game-changing men that are present consistently in the community – City of St. Louis Treasurer Adam Layne, CEO / Founder of Young Voices With Action Farrakhan Shegog, Normandy Collaborative School District Dr. Philip Pusateri, Normandy Collaborative School District Board Member Dr. Chris Petty, and Normandy Collaborative School District Athletic Director Terrence Hamilton, St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell, Councilman Jamal Williams, Cure Violence CEO Dr. Frederick Echols, Family Care Health Center Substance Use Specialist DeAnthony Henderson, Spencer and Max of Top Shots, and MikeyB Madeit of Legally Trappin.
During this impactful hour, Ben was presented with Resolutions, a Proclamation from St. Louis County presented by the Chief Transformational Officer Stephanie Lewis from County Executive Sam Pages’ team, and words from Wellston’s mayor, Mayor Griffin. Ben and the McLemore/Reid family were filled with joy and excitement with all the accolades and words from so many people and elated with the preservation of honoring Ben’s brother and basketball star and standout Kevin McLemore, by his high school coach now Normandy Collaborative School District Athletic Director Terrence Hamilton, Associate Superintendent Dr. Phil Pusateri, and Board Member Dr. Chris Petty.
Day 3 of BMack Stop The Violence Weekend which marks year 10 for this event denotes a decade of Ben giving back to a community that gave him so much, and this event included his free basketball skills camp where there were over 200 registered 2nd to 6th graders both boys and girls whom received one-on-one training with Ben and his panel of coaches. He brought in Kansas standout trainer and coach, Coach Benny. He and Coach Benny worked on a variety of skills which included passing, dribbling, shooting, dynamic warm-ups, and the mental section of basketball. And, the community children enjoyed a day of basketball and fun games that allowed them to bond with hometown hero, and NBA standout Ben McLemore.
With the closing out of the basketball camp, Ben gave every student-athlete involved in the camp both book bags and school supplies ahead of the start of school. Excited and elated the children displayed their love and appreciation to spend time with Ben, and to top off their day with him, he gave the campers a basketball that he personally autographed for them along with messages and words of encouragement –
”Stay positive and follow your dreams you can be whatever you put your mind and heart to!”Ben McLemore
“Blessed to cherish this day with my Lil brother, family, and community.”Ben McLemore
“It was an honor to be invited to attend this event. What I loved most was that we were not in a fancy part of St. Louis, but right there in the heart of Wellston on a side street with our people. There wasn’t a vibe of false hierarchy. As I walked up the street to the stage I jammed to the music of one of the home owners keeping the party going with his stereo system. Further up, I joked with one of the female youth reminiscing about when my body used to be that cute. I embraced brother Farrakhan Shegog with a hug as we always do when we link up. By the time I reached the stage and saw Dsmoovee big smile, I felt nothing short of love as if I had just walked through my grandmother’s backyard to chill with my family. And that feeling is what keeps me going to serve our communities.Keisha Lee, CEO Annie Malone
“According to national and local health data, the most vulnerable communities continue to be disproportionately impacted by violence. As the Chief Executive Officer of Cure Violence Global, Dr. Fredrick Echols, I am dedicated to saving the lives of youth and families by giving local governments and community organizations across the world the tools needed to address violence at its root. I am grateful to Ben Edward McLemore III for using his platform to increase awareness of violence and look forward to working more closely with him and the Kevin McLemore Foundation to empower individuals and create safer communities.” –Dr. Echols, CEO of Cure Violence
“The festival was truly a day to celebrate and center community. It was a wonderful experience talking to community members while providing access to resources and free food. I hope to continue my involvement and take part in uplifting my community.”Dr. Cunningham, Director of Family Care Health Center
The lives of both Ben and Kevin provide us with an opportunity to pause and reflect on hope. Both Ben and Kevin demonstrated through their endeavors in sports how we move from dreams to goals and from goals to positive results.Dr. Matifadza Hlatshwayo Davis, Director of Health for the City of St.Louis
“Great experience to show the community we care and to provide resources for the community in need. It was amazing to make connections with the many resource organizations that were in attendance for “Ben & Kevin Day” for future collaborations. Ben made it possible to build a bridge and have services available at his event, Family Care Health Centers will definitely be back in 2023!”DeAnthony Henderson, Substance Use Specialist -Family Care Health Centers
Ben’s focus is to continue to bring awareness and unite the community with his community initiative with “BMack Stop The Violence Week” with the collaboration of his non-profit “The Kevin McLemore Foundation.” And, he’s looking forward to August 4th, 2023 year two of “Ben & Kevin Day!”
- Photographer: Cdot Visuals
- Music Provided by: Dj Bounce